First Impressions, Lasting Impressions

The Media Trainers, LLC

Are you aware of your immediate reaction to someone before they even say a word? More importantly, are you aware of how others might first perceive you when you meet? Non-verbals can scream, without making a sound. And, in interviewing, they are critical to your credibility. Here are some examples to consider:

1-800 Flowers CEO Jim McCann has a lot to smile about. This holiday season has been good for his business. But even when things are not this good, McCann warms a room with his smile and his body language. Executives could learn a lot observing McCann in interviews. He’s warm, friendly and jovial.

Basic Industry Services CEO Kenneth Huseman has a positive story to tell, but you wouldn’t know it from his demeanor. He helps oil companies find employees. And there are plenty of jobs to be filled right now in the U.S., but Huseman is all business. He could loosen up a bit. Maybe Jim McCann could advise him on the value of a smile!

This is Dennis Davern. He captained the boat from which Natalie Wood “fell” and drowned 30 years ago. He contributed to a book recently published that claims, at the very least, negligence on the part of Wood’s husband, Robert Wagner, contributed to her death. Did anyone tell Davern to shave and bathe before this interview? Apparently not! By the way, his performance was as poor as his appearance.

This guy, on the other hand, is being hammered with one of the toughest and nastiest questions I’ve heard. He’s Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, and the gist of the question is that Nokia’s stock isn’t worth holding onto, not to mention purchasing. Yet, to his credit, Elop maintains a cool expression, waits for the question to end (and it was long), and then answers it calmly and positively.

Familiar with Scott Boras? He’s a sports agent, primarily for major league baseball players. His client list includes a number of super stars. Teams hate dealing with Boras. He’s very difficult. Indeed some teams have refused to deal with him at all. His image follows him into interviews. In this one, he made very clear non-verbally that he was bored and would rather be somewhere else. So why did he agree to do it?
And, finally, Harry Belafonte was making the rounds not long ago, via satellite, selling his autobiography. Belafonte was in NYC as the local Terre Haute, Indiana, TV anchor introduced him. Unfortunately, Harry had fallen asleep, apparently with no IFB in his ear. She called his name several times, but nothing. Not a flinch, not a muscle. His pose was frozen. No word on sales of his book in Terre Haute, but this “interview” undoubtedly generated lots of buzz.

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